The UK is facing increasing competition from overseas IT skills, and the number of outsourced jobs will increase dramatically over the next 10 years.
Speaking at a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference last week, chancellor Gordon Brown claimed the UK needed to "face up to far-reaching and fundamental global changes in technology".
"Within a decade, five million US and European jobs could be outsourced. And all the time China and India are upgrading their [IT] and science skills. They are producing 125,000 computer science graduates a year, and the UK [is producing] only 5,000," Brown said.
Just last week the government agency e-Skills UK criticised the IT training industry for being unequal to the task of filling the UK technology skills gap.
Brown added that to "fail to confront or complacently side-step" global competition would cause the UK to be left behind.
However, Elizabeth Sparrow, chairwoman of the British Computer Society working party on offshoring, said the global IT services market is here to stay.
"Some of the low-skills jobs will be moved away from the UK, but we are not looking at a job loss situation overall," she said.
"We need to face up to the fact that we have a very competitive global market and the skills we have need to be built on and developed."
Sparrow added that up to 12 per cent of total UK jobs could be outsourced by 2010.
Paul Musgrove, managing director of VAR PS Office Supplies, said outsourcing is acceptable in moderation.
"As long as a company is not outsourcing its core activity I don't think there is a problem. Once core activities are outsourced you basically lose control of your company," he said.
"We will see more of this happening. Obviously, it will have an effect on some jobs, but outsourcing non-core activities can free more people to handle a company's front-line activities."
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